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06-11-20

Mindless attacks on firefighters across the country reported on Bonfire Night

A number of firefighters were physically assaulted last night when tackling incidents and attending callouts on Bonfire Night.

These mindless attacks included fireworks, stones and bricks being thrown at crews while they were out trying to keep people safe, on the what was the busiest night of the year for many services.

Fire crews in Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, Scotland, Wales, Northumberland, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Humberside are among those reporting attacks so far. This is in addition to crews under attack in the run up to Bonfire Night – and is likely to continue over the weekend.

in the last year there were 897 attacks recorded, which does not take into account this year’s Bonfire period.

In some areas of the country, firefighters can no longer attend some types of fires – unless they have a police escort. NFCC warns these can escalate quickly into large scale fires, putting properties and lives at risk. 

Chris Lowther, Chair of NFCC’s Operations Committee and Chief Fire Officer for Tyne and Wear, said: ““Attacking firefighters is abhorrent; if one or two members of staff are injured on a shift, this can result in fire appliances having to be taken off the road while other staff are called in. This leaves communities at risk if there is a major incident.”

“I am disgusted to hear of firefighters being attacked when trying to protect the communities they serve; ultimately saving lives. We need to see custodial sentences handed out – it is clear we need a deterrent which makes people think twice."

NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher made it clear that chief fire officers in every UK fire and rescue service have responsibility for the health and well-being of all firefighters. "As part of their duty of care – which every chief fire officer takes very seriously - measures including technology which can help to protect them should be fully utilised. The purpose of these cameras is to record assaults and bring those attacking firefighters to justice.

“While jail sentences have been increased from 12 to 24 months, we now need to see these imposed to send a clear message. Emergency services staff must be treated with the respect they deserve; blue light services are here to keep people safe.”

 Full statement

 

 

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